The story of Anne Frank is infamous; when she was 13 years old her family went into hiding from the Nazis, and on the 4th August 1944 they were found in their secret Annexe.
Anne died in 1945 in a concentration camp, and her father was the only one of the family to survive and so published her diary.
I found it difficult to believe that I was reading the diary of a 14 year old girl. Anne Franke was so sophisticated, her sentences so excellently constructed, and the ways she viewed both herself and others was so adult. ‘The Diary of a Young Girl’ is much more than a historical document; it personally and intricately details all the close events of Anne’s life and her feelings and emotions at those times. Less is said about the Nazis and what is happening in the country, and more emphasis is placed on the confines of Anne’s world and the people around her and the unique situation they have found themselves in.
There were some incredible insights Anne Frank had on certain topics that I was not expecting:
1. Women’s Rights
One of the many questions that have often bothered me is why women have been, and still are, thought to be so inferior to men.
Fortunately, education, work and progress have opened women’s eyes. In many countries they’ve been granted equal rights; many people, mainly women, but also men, now realise how wrong it was to tolerate this state of affairs for so long.”
Despite all the other injustices that were happening to Anne Frank, she still had time to question why women were not equal to men. This is so interesting because it is still a huge issue today, and Anne is correct in saying that progress and education have helped the situation, and that men are feminists also these days. She perfectly showcases how discrimination can occur on many levels.
‘I could no longer restrain my curiosity about her body… I asked her whether, as proof of our friendship, we could touch each other’s breasts… I also had a terrible desire to kiss her.’
Anne discusses boys that liked her at school and even has her first kiss whilst in hiding. Many entries in Anne’s diary are like those of normal teenagers, describing emotions and being obsessed with a crush. This reminds us of how human Anne is, and that despite being hidden she was just a young girl trying to figure herself out. She describes how she loved the female form, and was excited to start her period. Anne seemed incredibly interested in her own and other’s womanhood, and the female form, despite being attracted to men.
A contradiction imposed from without and one imposed from within…… As I’ve told you many times, I’m split in two.”
Her last entry is an essay about ‘a bundle of contradictions’, describing how the Anne within is different to the Anne expressed to others. She often expresses how she views her personality compared to how other people view it and how she would like to change to produce less conflict, which is an odd realisation for someone so young to make about their character. She is intuitive about why people act the way they do, and how they act towards her.
4. Her mother
Just as my heart sinks every time I hear her harsh words, that’s how her heart sank when she realised there was no more love between us.”
Anne often complains about the people she lives with, which is understandable as personalities clash when living in such a confined space. However, it was surprising how often she discussed not loving her mother and only showing adoration for her father. She claims that her mother did not understand her or treat her well, and it seemed to go a little deeper than just a teenage tantrum of hate to a parent. Anne edited the diary after reading it over a year later and claims she understands her mood swings at the time and the comments that she made as all part of growing up.
She so ironically says that she doesn’t think in the future anyone would be interested in reading the diary of a thirteen year old girl.
Oh Anne, you were so wrong!
Millions have read the diary and been opened up to Anne’s world, and I for one was pleasantly awed by all that I discovered about her.